Hong Kong film crew episode

In late February this year, I was contacted by a Hong Kong film crew visiting NYC for a story on subway musicians.  Ever game to share my experiences, I set up a date to meet. With crew in tow, producer Avis Chan including Taiwanese singer Janice Yan, came to my apartment in Murray Hill. I invited Janice to sing with me in the subway. After a funny discussion about songs we could possibly do together, we settled on the song Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. And I was just crazy enough to give it a try. The next day we met at the information clock in Grand Central. You can imagine the sight as we all walked towards my scheduled performance location at the Shuttle. Watching the commuters getting out of the way of the cameras, or trying to be in the way was hysterical. Janice helped me to set up and not only did she have her first experience singing in the subway, but as if on cue, a group of Performing Arts HS students stopped to listen and were easily enticed into joining us. That's the power of music, and why I not only love singing in public spaces, but allow the spontaneous, the out of the ordinary to evolve and present itself.    

Avis asked what to me was iconic NYC. I immediately thought of the subway token, something I still miss. She gave me a collection of tokens. A very lovely gift. Enjoy the episode.

clip of the HS kids for my Inspiration Project:

Myah subway poet Union Square

I've been pouring through many of my archives of clips and discovered this gem that I never edited.  

I met Myah one afternoon in the Union Square subway station, we chatted about how God and poetry inspire her.  She's also a basketball player, the combination of poetry and sports really inspired me. I asked if she would recite a poem and she took the mic and haltingly recited her poem "Misunderstood."  Make no mistake she truly owned that moment.  These are the beautiful things that happen underground that I love to share. 

Why I Busk? Amazing Grace

I met Cathy at the Staten Island Ferry terminal, she shared with me her recent loss of her father and how my music was healing to her. Inspired by her daughter Ashianna to come over and chat I also learned Cathy could sing. This clip is a wonderful inside look at how I engage and am engaged by the amazing commuters that feel so comfortable to chat and allow me to record.

Talk about grace, Cathy at the end gets the audience to applaud. So this is a perfect example and peek into my world of performing in public spaces. Thanks to another commuter and singer Justin who gladly took my camera to capture Cathy and I singing Amazing Grace together.

What Inspires Cathy? "music...and listening to your smooth sound put a peace in me...."

Public spaces are being put in the spotlight with Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park inhabited by the People, juxtaposed by Citigroup representing a corporation buying the rights to Bryant Park to install a skating rink.

Maybe instead of a casual place to sit on a bench and read or walk across a park, for a time, a public park is a place for public protest against injustices, or one that becomes a skating rink surrounded by shopping kiosks. My view is we need to understand the rights of all aspects of our community by the people and for the people, live within our beliefs of Democracy and Freedoms, and use ethics and reason to guide our laws. I am hopeful. I sing it and see it every time that I sing in public spaces.

Justin Sings SI Ferry Terminal

Here's another impromptu moment with commuters joining me in singing. Justin had just filmed me and another commuter Cathy singing Amazing Grace and shared he too is a singer. Justin sings while Cathy films and joins in harmony at the end.

I love these spontaneous moments precious because they're not trying to be.

You've Got A Friend. 

Spontaneous moments that fill me up

Aubrey Lynch stopped by LIRR station while I was performing. In this clip he describes what he's up to now. Another spontaneous interruption provided us with a touching moment. This month Aubrey is my guest blogger 

Check out Aubrey's What's Your Inspiration? clip. See how he has taken a career of dancing, choreography, and producing to now mentoring and using dance art to heal people.

What's My Inspiration, behind 'What's Your Inspiration?"

Recently I’ve been recording on my flip camera or zoom digital recorder the voices and images of commuters I meet who inspire me with their comments.  I’ve started a new section of this site called  What's Your Inspiration?  where I post what I capture.  It’s not a difficult process, I actually don’t need to edit at all, except to keep it under 2 minutes.

There is no absence of people inspired by life by what they see and hear, willing to walk up to me while I’m performing and chat. I’ve just recently had the guts to say, “hey would you mind if I record what you're saying for my website?"  So that’s how I discovered Paradise at 125th street station who matter-of-factly said, “keep love in your heart everyone, remember that.”  Sherwin at Penn station expressed,  “Joy is my inspiration."  These people need to be heard, they make our world a better and interesting place to live in.

And their inspirational stories resonate with me deeply.  We live in a harsh world, and here in New York City it’s a very crowded and chaotic one.  Ester shared, “today we have ‘soundicians’ (sic) that make noise, but real music is compelling.  Music is in my soul, I get goose-bumps, I feel heightened.  Maybe if people had the right music they’d be happier.”   "Soundicians” ? !!  Wonderful, that description is compelling enough to make me want to find more and more Ester's of the world to share with you.

Heartfelt, honest, strange, inspiring….you be the judge. Stay tuned as I introduce you to the people I meet in the subway on this website, maybe you’ll feel compelled to share or leave a comment.  It’s easy.  And maybe one day if you happen upon me in the subway, you too will feel inspired enough to share what inspires you.

See you in the subway!

Enrico Miguel Thomas 'Subway Artist of NYC'

On my way to sing at an open mic night at Ashford & Simpson’s club Sugar Bar, one Thursday evening, I came above ground and saw an amazing sight of an artist drawing with sharpie pens over a “canvas” of a simple paper city subway map. I couldn’t help but smile and stop to talk to the artist called The Subway Artist Of NYC, Enrico Miguel Thomas. His soft-spoken demeanor and total enthusiasm

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